Corporate HQ

The Criten was stumped. he lingered on the clean, shiny streets of Prime Accounticon, outside the tower housing Canapia Ltd. wondering. Could the inevitable Yumar Canapia have been bluffing? But I saw nothing in his eyes—the Criten thought. Glancing up, he noticed a chicken . . . no, two . . . three! crossing the road. They approached the Canapia Ltd. tower and entered by a small side entrance.

The Criten followed.

What the Criten did not notice was the bloody fat man following and behind him a slightly slighter figure wearing a burlap bathrobe and tire-soled slippers.

“Oh dear,” brother Anopheles muttered as the saw the gleaming tower which housed Canapia Ltd. “I never liked getting mixed up with corporations.”

* * *
The Criten crouched behind a large drinking fountain. He was on the twenty-second floor of Canapia Ltd., and had just watched the chickens pass through sliding glass doors which were marked: Canapia Laboratory. He did not like the look of that. As he meditated, he heard a scuffling as of tire-soled slippers on grey, corporate carpet. He glanced around the fountain in time to watch a large, bloody man followed by a slightly slighter figure wearing an outfit that strangely resembled a burlap bag enter the sliding doors of the lab.

Clamm—the Criten realized, wondering if there was anything more sinister in all the universe than the combination of the arch-bureaucrat and a laboratory. Then he noticed the janitor.

The janitor Angelicus, of course, had managed to trace the chips to their source and was employing his usual and foolproof approach to situations that required discretion, alertness and a lot of luck. He was coming down the hall impelling a wheeled bucket by the mop handle and clutching in his other hand a wet plunger. He shot a keen glance at the lab, noticed the tell-tale chicken feather, muttered “Aha!” presumably at the feather, and continued along.

He never made it past the fountain however, because he found himself in a headlock and heard a soft, insistent voice urging him to drop the plunger immediately. The janitor dropped the plunger without further ado, and thus disarmed, waited.

“Nice,” the voice said. “I notice you’re still breathing evenly, even though I’ve got a headlock on you that would impair the breathing of a human being. So my question is, what are you? and if it is easier, just tell me who.”

The janitor Angelicus explained.

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